Renault KWID Expert Review

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Introduction

The Renault Kwid has gone from a radical concept that was the very first showcase of the 2014 Auto Expo, to a budget hatchback that is now one of India’s best-selling cars. The Renault Kwid is the French carmaker’s way of saying a budget car doesn’t have to be bland. This little hatchback is the first formidable rival the Maruti Alto has had in years and the Kwid continues to enjoy a great deal of popularity across India.

While its biggest selling points, initially, were the SUV-esque styling, its ride quality, and the touchscreen infotainment system, it’s now more versatile with 1.0-litre and AMT options available as well. Is it something you ought to consider buying? Let’s find out!

Pros
  • Creep function makes stop-go driving very smooth & convenient
  • 1.0-litre engine plus Kid’s lighter kerb weight makes it peppy and energetic. Cost effective AMT is a boon inside the city
  • Unmatched 4-year/1-lakh km warranty along with free 4-year roadside assistance
  • Segment-first features like touchscreen, new rear armrest and digital instrument console give the interiors an upmarket feel
  • Ride quality is perfectly suited to the city
  • SUV-inspired styling. The cladding and muscular elements makes it look like nothing else in the segment
Cons
  • In-cabin plastics like the AC vent lids, AMT dial and the door pads could have been better in quality
  • Due to the lightweight and skinny tyres, the Kwid requires constant steering corrections on the highway at high speeds
  • Despite creep function, the car rolls back on inclines, forcing you to make a hand-brake start

Stand Out Features

  • Rear seat armrest - adds to the cabin comfort and premiumness for rear-seat passengers

    Rear seat armrest - adds to the cabin comfort and premiumness for rear-seat passengers

  • In-cabin storage spaces - big centre console storage combined with the class-leading 300-litre boot means you have more than enough room for a weekend trip

    In-cabin storage spaces - big centre console storage combined with the class-leading 300-litre boot means you have more than enough room for a weekend trip

  • 2018 Renault Kwid now comes with first-in-class reverse parking camera.

    2018 Renault Kwid now comes with first-in-class reverse parking camera.

  • Digital instrument cluster - clear and easy readout of the essentials

    Digital instrument cluster - clear and easy readout of the essentials

CarDekho Verdict

The Renault Kwid has been one of the most youthful offerings in the segment. It is loaded with features from two segments up, looks quirky, has a spacious cabin and is fuel efficient too.

"With the 2018 update, Renault has added more practical features to the Kwid like a reversing camera, AMT creep and retractable rear seatbelts. What's more, the prices have remained unchanged! So, if you are looking to buy the Kwid, the deal has gotten a lot sweeter."

And with the 2018 update, Renault has added more practical features like a reversing camera, AMT creep and retractable rear seatbelts to make it as near an ideal small city car your money can buy. And to further improve the value-for-money proposition, the prices have remained exactly the same. So, if you are looking to buy the Kwid, the deal just got a lot sweeter.

Exterior

While the Kwid does fall into the budget car segment, that didn’t stop Renault from trying to do things differently. The Renault Kwid is the first entry-level hatch to offer some SUV flavour in its styling. It looks fresh compared to the ageing Alto. The tall stance & beefed up black plastic wheel arches add to the SUV appeal.

On the front, the grill has a futuristic pattern. The only chrome on the front is the diamond Renault logo. If you love the chrome, the honeycomb grill can be customised. Renault is offering a whole deal of customisation options to make your Kwid a one off on the road. 

The bumper gets some bulges to add muscle and houses round fog lamps. The small air dam at the bottom continues to get the same styling as the grill.

The car isn’t too tall and the side is characterised by a high window line and large windows. The black slats at the bottom are not plastic but merely a vinyl sticker. You can upgrade to a plastic cladding from the accessories option at the dealership level.

The car sits on 13-inch rims and 155mm rubber with just 3 lug nuts to fasten them. The Eon offers a similar tyre & rim combination, while the Nano and the Alto 800 offer thinner 135 & 145 mm tyres on 12 inch rims. With the 2018 update, the Renault Kwid now offers full wheel covers and fog lamps from the RxL variant, making the car look a bit nicer in the mid-range grades as well. 

The outside mirror and door handles are conventional units and done in black. The plastic quality is a bit of a let-down and even after the long awaited 2018 update,  the mirrors are not adjustable from the inside, something that is provided on the Alto 800. The side turn indicator bulbs are mounted on the front wheel arch. You will find the variant badging on the side behind the rear window.

At the back, badging is minimalistic. The tail lamps are a basic affair. The Renault and Kwid badges take centre stage on the tail, while a small Renault badge sits on the left. The bottom part of the bumper gets black cladding as standard. 

At the top, the roof houses a U shaped depression. This is to increase the rigidity and compensate for the thinner sheet metal used. All variants get an integrated roof spoiler which adds character. Along with this you get a long antenna FM antenna. You can also get roof rails from the accessories store at the dealership.

The Kwid gets only a single wiper on the front and no option for a rear wiper. It’s a cost cutting feature, but, it does do the job in covering most of the windshield area with every swipe. This mist function is only available from the top end (RXT) variant. This sprays a small mist of washer fluid instead of a stream followed by a quick swipe by the wiper. None of the cars in the segment offer this function.

In terms of dimensions, the Kwid is amongst the longest in its class at 3679mm. The ground clearance is again top notch at 180mm which is good for the speed breakers, but this gives the car a feeling as if it’s on stilts. The wheel base stands at 2422mm. This is higher than the Eon & the Alto. The kerb weight tips the scales at 660kgs which is almost 50kgs lighter than the Nano! It also boasts of best in class boot space at 300 litres.

We love the aggressive SUV-like styling of the KWID and it is well proportioned.

Exterior Comparison

Maruti Swift Datsun redi-GO Maruti Ignis
Length (mm) 3840 3429 3700
Width (mm) 1735 1560 1690
Height (mm) 1530 1541 1595
Ground Clearance (mm) 163 185 180
Wheel Base (mm) 2450 2348 2435
Kerb Weight (kg) 965Kg - -
 

Boot Space Comparison

Renault KWID Hyundai EON Datsun redi-GO Maruti Alto 800
Volume 300-litres 215-litres 222 Ltrs 177-litres
 

Interior

The Kwid is a budget car and that'd usually make the cabin a compromise. However, the cost-cutting elements are minimal in the Kwid and it feels fairly well put together. The designers have made sure there have been no compromises with anything that the driver will use on a day to day basis. The quality of plastics however, will be a bit of a let down.

As soon as you enter, the Kwid the first to thing to catch your eye is the 7” touchscreen infotainment system, borrowed from the Duster. The system is surrounded by a piano black bezel and a touch of chrome as a contrast to the single tone grey dash. This system gives you navigation, USB, aux and Bluetooth connectivity. This is the only car in the segment which provides an option for a factory fitted touch screen infotainment system.

The air con functions are housed below the infotainment system. The knobs get a chrome garnish and feel good to use. The air vents on either end are round with chrome inserts and the ones on the centre are rectangular with the knobs getting a bit of chrome. All can be shut independently. The low-end variant, however, doesn’t get air conditioning.  

Buttons for hazard lights, power windows and central locking are placed below. A clear cost saving step so that they didn’t have to put a switch each on the driver and passenger’s side. They are equally accessible by both. 

Below this console and ahead of the gear stick lies the cup holders and a 12v charging point. You get a small cubby between the handbrake and the gear stick. A standard affair really.

From the driver’s point of view, you get a nice little steering wheel. It's good to hold and stylish to look at. Push the key into the ignition and you find out that the Kwid is not a one trick pony with the infotainment system. The orange illuminated instrument cluster is a class above! It gets a neat read out of the speed and a small strip that displays a host of readouts. It shows the odometer, distance to empty, a trip meter, real-time fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, distance travelled, trip fuel consumption and average speed as well. All these read outs can be alternated by pressing the reset button which is housed near the fuel read out.

The headlight and indicator stalks are easy to access from the steering wheel. It has a lane change feature. On a small tap, it blinks the indicator thrice and shuts off on its own.

On the passenger side, there are two glove boxes. The one on the top gets a cut out to hold a water bottle. The glove box at the bottom is large too! Again, there is an open storage shelf between the two.

The front speakers are mounted on either end of the dash. The sound quality is acceptable at best. You won’t be able to blast bass heavy music from these. Music aficionados will want to upgrade.

The front seats get a triple tone red – grey – black upholstery. The headrests are fixed and not adjustable. The seats are more comfortable than the Alto and offer more space with good under thigh support.

Moving to the back, it’s clearly the winner compared to the Alto & the Eon. Tall people are more comfortable here compared to when sitting in the competition. Three abreast would fit in but would be uncomfortable. Two would be perfect at the back. The rear seats get a similar triple tone upholstery as the front. The seats lack contours and the cushion used in comfortable.  Seating is fairly high which gives a good view.

The 2018 Renault Kwid has brought with it some good news. The features added include a standard emergency locking retractor (ELR) for the rear seatbelts. ELR is a safety feature that not only allows the seatbelt to extend but also retract with passenger movement. It also allows seat belt locking on emergency brake application, preventing the passenger from falling forward. This is a major boon when compared to the old non-retractable seat belts, which looked messy. Additionally, since the old seatbelts would slide around, you’d have to keep pushing them back in before closing the door. Unfortunately, the rear windows still get manual rollers and they aren’t powered even in the top-spec RxT (O) variant.

Moving to the back, you have to access the boot by using the knob under the front seat or by the key. The boot space is HUGE! The 300-litre boot is one of the best, not only in its entry-level segment but a few segments above it as well. If this doesn’t fill your appetite for space, the rear seats fall absolutely flat giving all the space you will ever need.

Our final verdict of the interiors: you get a lot of features for your money! Renault has tastefully done the interiors (on a budget) so that it doesn’t hamper with your experience when you spend time inside the car.

Performance

Petrol

0.8 SCe

The engine on the Kwid is an all new 800cc unit. Point to be noted, 50% of the total development cost of the Kwid was diverted towards the development of the engine. With such high focus towards the engine, Renault has ended up developing one of the most fuel efficient petrol engines in India! ARAI ratings stand at 25.17kmpl. In comparison, ARAI ratings for the Alto stands at 22.74kmpl and Eon at 21.1kmpl.

The 3-cylinder unit develops 54PS of power and 72Nm of torque, and is paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox only. The engine feels comfortable with a couple of people in the vehicle, but load it with passengers and some luggage - it does tend to struggle. The engine is meant to be a city slicker, so do not expect outright performance. It does just enough to take one from point A to point B without too much drama.

The sour point? Well, it isn’t the most refined motor around. Other than the inevitable three-cylinder drone, the engine fails to keep its voice down. This becomes even more apparent when you get to the upper half of the rev range. The Alto and the Eon, in comparison, are much quieter both at idle, and on the move.  

1.0 SCe

The 1.0-litre motor is available in the top-spec RXT and RXT (O) variants only, and shares its architecture with the 0.8-litre unit. Renault has increased the bore and stroke of the smaller engine to achieve the bigger displacement, and strengthened the drive shaft to account for the added power. The added 14PS of power doesn’t make itself apparent right away. However, you do feel that the Kwid feels much more composed and relaxed as it gathers pace. Expectedly, highway performance is much better and the engine doesn’t feel strained doing triple digit speeds. But, it isn’t too different from its 0.8-litre in terms of noise, vibration and harshness. It is equally vocal, and sounds gruff when driven hard.

Where the 0.8-litre engine keeps you wanting for a bit more grunt every now and then, the 1.0 feels just right.  0-100kmph takes 13.90 seconds, which is far from impressive, but on par with commuter hatchbacks from segments above like the Ford Freestyle petrol and Maruti Suzuki Swift diesel. This, in no small part, can be credited to the Kwid’s light weight.  This engine complements the Kwid’s city characteristics much better, and is our pick of the lot. Additionally, while this engine is more powerful than the 0.8SCe, it’s still plenty efficient, delivering a tested mileage of 20kmpl in the city and 23.02kmpl on the highway.

1.0 SCe AMT

To take on the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 AGS, Renault introduced the AMT variant of the Kwid. The two-pedal version costs Rs 30,000 over its manual counterpart. For the convenience it offers, the Kwid ‘Easy-R’ does justify the extra price.

The AMT is among the best we’ve driven in the budget segment, and shift shocks are minimal. The gearbox picks up throttle inputs reasonably well and makes progress swiftly. Back when it was launched, this transmission did not offer the much needed creep function. However, the 2018 Renault Kwid does get it, with Renault labelling it “Traffic Assist”. Simply put, this feature (which was available with the Datsun redi-go AMT) makes the car creep forward at crawl speeds, without constantly pressing the accelerator while making progress in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That said, there’s still no manual mode to help the driver take control of gear changes when needed. We wouldn’t call this a major miss, since the gearbox figures out the right gear almost every single time (albeit with a slight lag), so you wouldn’t really miss it on a day-to-day basis.

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Maruti Alto 800 Datsun redi-GO Renault KWID Hyundai EON
Power 47.3bhp@6000rpm 53bhp@5678rpm 53.3bhp@5678rpm 55.2bhp@5500rpm
Torque (Nm) 69Nm@3500rpm 72Nm@4386rpm 72Nm@4386rpm 74.5Nm@4000rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 796 799 799 814
Transmission Manual Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 140 kmph - 135 Kmph 135 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 19 Seconds - 16 Seconds 19 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 727kg - - -
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 24.7kmpl 22.7kmpl 25.17kmpl 21.1kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 65.06189821182943 bhp/ton - - -

However, there is a stark difference in outright performance compared to the Kwid 1.0-litre manual. 0-100kmph, for example, takes 17.44 seconds; a full 3.5 seconds slower than the Kwid MT. This gap is more heavily pronounced in our fuel-efficiency tests, where the Kwid AMT delivered 16.28kmpl in the city and 19.09kmpl on the highway. Approximately 4kmpl less in both cases.

Ride & Handling

Renault has always been known to offer great ride and handling with its Duster and Lodgy. This trait is clearly visible on the Kwid too. Being a city car, the suspension has been set up on the soft side. It takes pot holes and the occasional kaccha roads really well. The higher ground clearance translates to body rolls on tight corners. It still is fun to chuck about as the handling is predictable. The drawback is the large 5m turning radius. In comparison, the Alto 800 gets a shorter 4.6m turning radius. Getting in and out of tight spaces with the Kwid will lead to a little extra effort.

The brakes have adequate bite and gets the car to a halt without any fuss. That said, the Kwid is best suited for a relaxed driving style rather than a spirited one. Braking really hard will cause the front-wheels to lock up since there’s no ABS.

In terms of steering, the unit is light at low speeds continues to be so at high speeds which is a bit of a let-down.

Overall, keep the car in the city and below 100kmph and you will have nothing to complain about.

Safety

The Renault Kwid’s safety kit has improved in 2018, but still leaves a lot to be desired. The Kwid gets a driver side airbag on the top-end RxT (O) variant but a passenger airbag isn’t available even as an option. Additionally, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are still a glaring miss from the safety package. What has improved in the 2018 Kwid is the addition of a rear camera and 3-point ELR seatbelts for two rear seat occupants. The middle passenger still gets a lap belt. Overall, Renault will have to do better with the Kwid in this department if it wants to see more reassuring crash test results. 

Safety Comparison

Renault KWID Maruti Alto 800 Datsun redi-GO Hyundai EON
Airbags righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
ABS close close close close
EBD close close close close

Variants

  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
KWID STD Heater, Gear shift indicator, Front-seat head rests, 2.67 Lakh*
KWID RXE [ In adition to STD ] Foldable backrest in Rear, Engine Immobilizer, Air-conditioner, [ Variant STD price ] + 43,100 =  3.1 Lakh*
KWID RXL [ In adition to RXE ] Electric power steering, Body colour bumpers, Auto on/off light, [ Variant RXE price ] + 29,900 =  3.4 Lakh*
KWID RXT Driver Airbag Option [ In adition to RXL ] All features of RXT, Driver airbag, [ Variant RXL price ] + 46,600 =  3.86 Lakh*
KWID 1.0 RXT Optional [ In adition to RXT Driver Airbag Option ] Driver airbag, All features of 1.0 RXT, [ Variant RXT Driver Airbag Option price ] + 22,000 =  4.08 Lakh*
KWID 1.0 RXT Optional AMT [ In adition to 1.0 RXT Optional ] All features of 1.0 RXT(O), AMT Transmission, [ Variant 1.0 RXT Optional price ] + 35,500 =  4.44 Lakh*
KWID Climber 1.0 MT [ In adition to 1.0 RXT Optional AMT ] Chrome Instrument cluster, Climber decals, Orange highlighted Interiors, [ Variant 1.0 RXT Optional AMT price ] + -10,500 =  4.33 Lakh*
KWID Climber 1.0 AMT [ In adition to Climber 1.0 MT ] All features of Climber 1.0, AMT Transmission, [ Variant Climber 1.0 MT price ] + 30,000 =  4.63 Lakh*

The Kwid is offered in a total of five variants - STD, RxE, RxL, RxT (O) and the Climber. While the first three are available only with a 0.8-litre engine, the RxT (O) is available with both, the 0.8-litre and 1.0-litre motors. Further, the RxT (O) and Climber are available with an automated manual transmission (AMT). 

The base variant (STD) is very basic. You get black bumpers, no power steering or AC and of course, no music system or speakers either. This variant merely exists to get the Kwid its wow entry price point, but we suggest you skip it.

The next (RxE) variant gets an AC with few other features like a sun visor for the front passenger and an engine immobilizer but still feels far too basic. It still misses out on power steering which can be quite tiring to drive without.

The mid-level RxL is where the packaging gets a bit sensible. It has an electronic power steering and offers the most value in terms of providing the minimum amount of features required for a decent commute. The list includes body-coloured bumpers, wheel covers, front power windows, a cabin light and a single-DIN music system with AUX/USB/Bluetooth connectivity.

The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system is available only on the top-end RxT (O) variant. This variant also comes with a dual-tone dashboard, driver airbag and reversing camera. This is our recommended variant of the Kwid, as it gets most of the basic must-haves and is available with all of the Kwid’s engine and transmission options.

The Climber is nothing more than a special cosmetic kit that makes the Kwid look more unique. It sports orange wing mirrors, Climber insignia on front doors and rear windshield and orange accents on the inside as well. This variant adds no new features and commands a premium of around Rs 25,000 over the previous variant. It’s only available with the 1.0-litre MT and AMT powertrain options. The only reason to buy this would be the looks.

Renault KWID similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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